Monday, February 28, 2011

Picking Places

Places I have been:

1)      Spain
2)      Amsterdam
3)      Armenia
4)      Karabagh
5)      Kuwait

Places I visit frequently:

1)      Trader Joe’s
2)      Target
3)      Costco

Places I don’t feel too comfortable:

1)      A steakhouse
2)      Yoga class
3)      Anywhere with smokers

Places I go with the boys:

1)      The library
2)      Many parks (they have nicknames for all of the ones we go to)
3)      Yogurtville

Places I go alone:

1)      The hair salon

Places I’d like to visit one day:

1)      Greece
2)      Israel
3)      Coco Chanel’s apartment

Place I should be right now:

1)      In bed

Places that make me happy:

1)      On the couch reading with my boys
2)      Eating at Bombay Club in Harvard Square with Jayson
3)      My in-laws’ house on Sunday afternoons

Places I used to go but don’t go now:

1)      Dance clubs
2)      IHOP after dance clubs

Places I avoid like the plague:

1)      Los Angeles
2)      The gym
3)      The mall

Places I am right now:

1)      Contentment
2)      Sleepiness
3)      Getting off my shoebox

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Head Over Feet

I heard “Head Over Feet” by Alanis Morissette on the radio today.  I love that song.

I remembered that I had made a mix-tape years ago and that song was on it.  So when I got home I found the mix-tape and, sure enough, “Head Over Feet” is on it.

Other songs from my mix-tapes dated 10/95:

“Your Love is King” (Sade)
“Stir it Up” (Bob Marley)
“Trouble Me” (Natalie Merchant)
“Stage” (Live)
“Give it Away” (RHCP)
“Corduroy” (Pearl Jam)
“Polly” (Nirvana)
“Sabotage” (Beastie Boys)

I can honestly say I still love all of these songs.

In October of 1995 I was 21 years old and had graduated from Boston College the previous spring.  I was working full time for The Armenian Mirror-Spectator newspaper.  My mother had started to show signs of illness, but we had no idea the devastation that the coming year would bring.

But hearing Alanis sing today,

You are the bearer of unconditional things
You held your breath and the door for me
Thanks for your patience


I’ve never felt this healthy before
I’ve never wanted something rational
I am aware now

took me back to lighter, happier days.

OK, I’m getting off my shoebox now.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Eat Pray Love ~ A Lesson in Futility

Eat Pray Love is the true story of a woman who is unsatisfied in her marriage and unfulfilled in her life.  (Full disclosure:  I watched the movie but have not read the book.  I am not trying to judge her – these are simply my observations and opinions.)  So she divorces her husband (against his desires), finds a boyfriend, and takes off by herself on a year-long trek to Italy, India and Indonesia to find herself.

I thought this would be a fun adventure movie in the vein of Under the Tuscan Sun.  Not even close.

My first issue was with her leaving her marriage.  I accept that perhaps the movie was not complete in how it portrayed this scenario, but it seemed that she gave up and walked away from a husband who did not want her to go.  Yes, he seemed aimless and unfocused, but did she attempt counseling?  Did she try at all?

Soon after she finds a boyfriend – an actor performing in one of her plays (she is a writer).  She moves in with him and gets influenced by his new age beliefs.  This relationship gets rocky, which furthers her personal confusion and prompts her worldly adventure.

First stop, Italy.  She lives in a dilapidated apartment, makes some friends, learns Italian, and eats pasta.

Next stop, India.  She stays at the ashram of her boyfriend’s guru/yogi (I don’t even know the proper terms).  She meditates, makes some friends, and has to be told that fulfillment won’t magically appear at her feet.

Finally, to Bali, where she revisits a medicine man she had met on a previous trip.  She continues to meditate, visits a healer, and meets the man of her dreams.  Initially she’s scared to commit, but in the end, they sail off happily ever after.

I was incredulous at the messages this movie – her life, really – sends out.  I do not want to invalidate or belittle her emotions or life’s journey, but it really left me shaking my head.  When life gets hard – and it will – you can’t just run.  When you feel empty – and you will – it’s not an easy fill.

But mostly, she – and every single one of us – has a God-shaped hole in our hearts.  And not just any god or the god of your choosing, but a hole the shape of the one and only Father, Jesus Christ.  Some of us accept and fill that hole with the God who fits.  Others reject Him or don’t care or don’t want Him, and chase every path but the true one in a futile attempt to fill that gaping hole.

These empty, unsatisfied, unfulfilled, unbalanced hearts search for a way to fill up – on people, love, boy/girlfriends, jobs, status, money, alcohol, food, games, shopping, traveling… the list goes on.  Did this woman of Eat Pray Love really think her fulfillment would come at the bottom of a bowl of spaghetti?  Maybe for that moment it did, but a few hours later, she was probably hungering for more.  Would it come from an ashram?  Why that one and not one of the thousands of other Hindu gods?  Would it come from a medicine man?  A man who read her palm – a blatantly sinful act that goes against God’s word?

Filling our emptiness with further emptiness is no solution.  Not only does it not help, but it stretches that hole in an almost toxic way.  There is no lasting satisfaction, fulfillment, balance or healing.

It makes me sad.  I am left wondering if, in her time of need, someone – anyone – put their arms around her and asked her if she knew about the One – the only One who could ever fill that hole in her heart and never leave her hungering and searching again.

OK, I’m getting off my shoebox now.